Cardinal Pell, the former Vatican Treasurer has been found guilty of 1 charge of sexually penetrating a child under the age of 16 and 4 counts of committing an indecent act on a child under 16, in Australia. Pell, 77 year old Australian is the highest ranking Catholic Official to receive such a conviction.
In his second trial, the first having failed to reach a verdict, he was unanimously convicted of abusing 2 choir boys in a Melbourne Cathedra in 1996. Pell has lodged an appeal against his sentence and is due to attend a sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
The Jury heard that Pell, was the Archbishop of Melbourne when he abused two, 13 year old boys. He told the boys that they were in trouble for drinking communion wine and then forced the boys to perform indecent acts. He abused one of the boys again in 1997. Sadly, the Court was only able to hear evidence from one of the victims, as the other had died as a result of a drug overdose in 2014.
The victim said, “he had experienced shame, loneliness, depression and struggle due to the abuse. Like many survivors it has taken me years to understand the impact upon my life.”
Pell is still maintaining his innocence and confirmed this in a statement which was issued on his behalf on Tuesday. The statement briefly said that Pell, “would await the outcome of his appeal.”
Pell was demoted from the Pope’s inner circle and his term as the Vatican Treasurer expired on Sunday.
Abuse survivors groups have welcomed the verdict.